Spicy Alternative

Spice always works with the Indian palette.

Written by Prajakta Hebbar | Published: May 18, 2013 3:41 am

With its fresh,tangy flavour,the Indonesian fried rice Nasi Goreng is fast becoming popular in the city

Spice always works with the Indian palette. So when you try out Nasi Goreng,the Indonesian cousin of our national-favourite Chinese fried rice,you will be pleasantly surprised with the tangy spiciness of the dish. Nasi Goreng,which literally means “fried rice” in Indonesian,refers to a dish prepared by tossing pre-cooked rice in small amount of cooking oil,sweet soy sauce and shallot,among others. Ubiquitous in Indonesia,Nasi Goreng is also popular in neighboring Malaysia and Singapore,as well as the Netherlands through its colonial ties with Indonesia.

Now available across the city in several eateries,Nasi Goreng is getting increasingly popular with Puneites. “As compared to other Asian fried rice preparations,Nasi Goreng tastes intense and spicy. We prepare the kecap manis (a sweet soy sauce) and use it generously to give it the same authentic taste that you will find in Indonesia,” says chef Vivek Kumar,executive sous chef at The O Hotel. This spunky preparation is also available at Kobe Sizzlers (both on Law College Road and Aundh),Polka Dots in Kalyani Nagar and Malaka Street in Viman Nagar among others.

Brown in colour and with an unmistakably-rich smell of the sweet soy sauce,the preparation is traditionally served with prawn crackers,sausages and eggs – sunny side up. The rice in itself,is long and fluffy,tossed lightly with all the ingredients to maintain their original flavours. “The difference between Nasi Goreng and its Indian,Chinese and other south Asian counterparts is the application of sweet soy sauce and the preference of stronger and spicier taste,” says Kumar. He adds that it often includes krupuk (fried shallots) and bawang goreng (fried onions) to give a crispier texture.

“Being regarded as one of the world’s most delicious foods,Nasi Goreng traditionally was prepared by frying leftover rice with spices and meats,” says Rishi Shanbhag,a hotel management student. Besides ingredients like shallot,tomato,pepper and chili,the rice was fried with scraps of leftover chicken or beef,he says.

Chef Kalidas Fartade from Swig Bar and Eatery in Koregaon Park says that Nasi Goreng is a perfect replacement for the Indian as well as Chinese rice dishes. “The vegetarian version of the dish includes mushrooms,sprouts,red cabbage and zucchini,among others. But our most popular variants of the Nasi Goreng are of course the prawn and chicken versions,” he says. Shanbhag sums up the essence of the dish: “Since it is brimming with fresh vegetables,it makes for a healthy meal.”

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